Italian Buttercream Icing

"This icing is incredibly smooth and creamy, and not overly sweet. (It still has MANY calories though!!) I haven't found another one like it. It is not difficult to make, but does require some time. I use this icing for wedding cakes or other special occasions mostly, because it does require more time than other buttercream icings, but there really is no comparison. Thanks to my mother-in-law for this recipe as she had found it in a magazine years ago."
photo by o_lynk photo by o_lynk
photo by o_lynk
Ready In:
3-4 (it will do a three layer wedding cake and stilll




  • Separate egg whites from yolks. Whip egg whites until stiff.
  • Bring sugar and water to a boil. Occasionally use a pastry brush and cold water to brush down any crystals that form on the side of the pan. Boil for seven minutes over medium heat.
  • Pour sugar mixture slowly into egg whites. Beat until bowl is cool to the touch - ten minutes or so. (You might want to place this bowl in another bowl with a little cold water in it to speed the cooling process a bit.).
  • Cut butter into 1" pieces, and add them slowly to the sugar/eggwhite mixture. The mixture gets more "soupy" as you add the butter, but this is OK.
  • Add vanilla when butter is mixed in well.
  • Beat until light and fluffy. It may look a little curdled, but keep beating, and it will become smooth.
  • This icing can be refrigerated for weeks, or even frozen for months. To get it back to be nice and creamy after being in the fridge or freezer, just mix it again, and it will return to its' creamy texture.

Questions & Replies

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  1. anonymous23
    Made a wedding cake for a friend and used this recipe--came out perfectly, whether I used all butter (trial run) or butter and shortening combo (for the wedding--such a warm day)! I used a candy thermometer and added the syrup to the whites when it reached 238F. However, this recipe does threaten to overflow my KitchenAid stand mixer's bowl and it takes way longer than 10 minutes for it to cool down.
  2. 525975
    I flavored mine with almond was so, addictive. You do have to keep beating, and a few ice cubes to the water seemed to help speed up the process. This recipe blends well with Nutella, the 26.5 oz jar to the whole recipe by blending nearly 2 cups of icing to the Nutella, then folding the Nutella mixture into the remaining icing. The Nutella Italian Butter Cream makes an excellent filling/icing for chocolate (cup)cakes with a Chocolate Ganauche and toasted Hazelnut finish. The only problem is when this icing is cold, it will separate, so let it warm up to room temp. then mix again.
  3. hotoes40
    I have been looking for an italian butter cream for a while, this is perfect! I used meringue powder instead of fresh eggs and it was really easy.I will be using it for my daughters wedding cake in two weeks. It does go through a scary phase where it looks curdled, and it did take more than 10 minutes to cool, but it turned out fantastic, light, not too sweet....the hard part will be staying out of it.
  4. Strawberries and Ro
    LOVED this icing. Beats Wilton's recipe fo buttercream icing. Requires effort but I kept going according to instructions and it turned out so wonderful. Thanks for taking your time to add this recipe.
  5. Jdayl
    I soaked a towel in cold water and after wringing it out well wrapped it around the bowl of my mixer, worked great. Lovely icing.


  1. rloreth
    I followed this recipe EXACTLY and did get something that LOOKED like frosting (after pushing through the extended, "oh my goodness, this is a curdled waste of butter" stage. But then I tasted it and just as I suspected from the 1.5 pounds of butter requirement -- it takes like sweetened butter. Nothing at all like frosting ... would be great on fresh cornbread but on a cake? No way!! I thought maybe it was just me, not being used to Italian Buttercream frosting. I had my husband taste it. He said, "yum. that would be great on cornbread or a sweet yeast roll right out of the oven." I told him that it was frosting and he looked at my like I'd lost my mind. But I had cored cupcakes for filling so he grabbed a little core of red velvet cake and put a little frosting on it. "Weird", he said. "That stuff is not for cake. Maybe a corn muffin, but not for cake." Then my daughter came home. I didn't tell her what it was for and after tasting it, she asked why I was making so much "honey butter." This recipe is simple and only a few ingredients, so we know it is what it is, Sweetened butter. I'm not sure what the point of the whipped egg whites was. Those disintegrated with the slow streaming of the sugar syrup and later seem to serve the sole purpose of helping the frosting separate. At the suggestion family to "do something to try to turn it into frosting and not waste all of that butter" I added a two pound bag of powdered sugar and it then tasted like frosting but way too thin to put on a cupcake. It would slide right off. Not being willing to waste any more groceries on this recipe, it's going into the trash bin as soon as I finish with this review. My advice? If you want a great substitute for honey butter for corn muffins or as something to brush over a fresh loaf of bread that comes out of the oven, this is good. Otherwise, don't expect anything like frosting. Expect, as you can see from the list of ingredients, to get sweet whipped butter.



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